We’re eight games into the Ladbrokes Championship season, and the picture is becoming clear at both ends of the table. At the top, Queen of the South protect a slender lead from the chasing pack, while St Mirren are in danger of being cut adrift at the bottom.
So, who do we rate as the division’s top man? Which match gave us the best 90 minutes of excitement? And who needs to up their game? All will be revealed below…
The star performer:
Few expected Queen of the South to challenge for top spot this season, but the signing of Dobbie from Bolton Wanderers this summer has helped propel the Doonhamers to first place.
The prolific hitman – now in his second spell in Dumfries – has tucked away six goals in the league already, including a stunning half-volley against Raith Rovers. A real team performer, he’s also notched up multiple assists. On current form, he looks well worth backing to finish as the division’s top scorer at 9/2.
One to watch:
The son of former Hearts midfielder Jose Quitongo, 19-year-old Jai has turned heads at Cappielow with his pace and trickery, while his net-busting winner against Dunfermline Athletic showed his natural eye for goal.
Having run defences ragged with his boundless energy, the Wishaw-born forward has also proven he can do it against the very best, netting against Premiership Kilmarnock and Hamilton in the League Cup.
Tipped for the title:
They may be a point off the top after a mini blip, but nobody is better equipped for the title than Neil Lennon and co, both in the dugout and on the field.
Hibs’ manager won three top-flight titles in a row as Celtic boss, and boasts the likes of John McGinn, Jason Cummings and Andrew Shinnie in a squad bursting with creative talent.
They also have plenty of experience at this level – now in their third successive Ladbrokes Championship campaign, and are understandably 8/15 favourites to lift the league.
Queen of the South
They may not have the league’s biggest crowds or budget, but the Doonhamers have fought off the attentions of relative giants Hibernian and Dundee United to establish themselves as the division’s top dogs, as we head into the international break.
With the experienced strike partnership of Dobbie and Derek Lyle gelling perfectly up front, opposition defences have been powerless to stop QoS. Meanwhile at the other end, they boast the Championship’s meanest defence, having conceded just four times.
Many expected the Buddies to be title challengers this season, having recruited talented forwards like John Sutton, Ryan Hardie and Lawrence Shankland in the summer – but a lack of midfield service, and defensive frailties have let the Paisley club down.
However, St Mirren haven’t been hammered in games this season, with a string of hard-fought draws and narrow defeats under their belt. And with the quality in their squad, there’s no reason the Buddies can’t turn things around.
Dundee United 2-2 Raith Rovers
There may have been higher-scoring encounters, but Rovers’ impressive comeback at Tannadice was packed with drama. United raced into a 2-0 lead in the opening 25 minutes, but the outsiders roared back with spectacular strikes from Jordan Thomson and Kevin McHattie.
Both sides had chances after McHattie’s 72nd-minute equaliser, but neither could find a winner, and this entertaining clash rightly ended with a share of the spoils.
Do you agree? Are Hibs the best bet for the title? Can Dobbie outscore all? Have you seen a better game than the 2-2 at Tannadice? Let us know in the comments below.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing